(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "An address of Charles Hudson, of Mass."

* o 



s^ 






.V 



»jj» 






'^^ 



•A' 









A^^ 



A 



> 



<J?' 



-P- 






^. ,^/ 



V 






-r O 






■ 



-fh " 0^ .»■•. '^-^ 



'<^_ K 



'yT 









'^. 






.o-^ % 



>? 






rxV . o - . '^^ 



X' 



AN ADDRESS 



OF 



CHARLES HUDSON, OF MASS., 

TO 

THE CITIZENS OF THE FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF 

THAT STATE, 

ON 
RETIRING FROM THE OFFICE OF REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS. 



J. & G. S. Gideon, Printers, Ninth street, Washington. 






* O A/ 



ADDRESS 



'^ FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF 

MASSACHUSETTS. 

In retiring, under circumstances somewhat peculiar, from the station I have for 
some years past occupied by your kindness, I have thought that a few words from 
me would be neither unsea:«onable nor improper. Being impressed with the pro- 
priety of rotation in office, I signified, more than a year ago, to many of my friends 
in the district, my intention of declining a re-nomination to Congress. But I re- 
ceived from every one with whom I communicated, an assurance that no change was 
desired by the people in the district; and among those who gave this assurance, and 
who urged me not to decline, were several of the warm personal friends of my 
successor. I was induced by these representations to remain silent, and let the 
good people in the district do as they pleased in relation to the selection of a candi- 
date, though I had assured the chairman of the district comm.ittee that it was my 
personal wish to decline. I was again selected by the convention, and did not feel 
at liberty to decline a nomination Avhich, I was assured, was cordially made. 

The result of the election is known to you all. Had I been defeated on the ordi- 
nary political issues, or had there been nothing peculiar in the character of the can- 
vass, you would never have heard a word from me on the subject. But I have 
been charged with basely deserting my principles; with Avantonly betraying the in- 
terests of the State; and with wickedly sacrificing the cause of freedom at the 
shrine of slavery- 

On these charges all the changes have been rung, and the cry of cowardice and 
pro-slavery^ desertion and treachenj, has been reiterated from day to day duiing the 
whole canvass. I/:heerfully recognise the accountability of the representative, and 
the right and dut^ of the people to discard their public agents whenever they be- 
come unfaithful; and, if I have been guilty of the charges preferred against me by 
some of my former friends, I justly merit, not only what 1 have received at their 
hands, but the execration of the whole people of the Commonwealth. But on what 
overt act of mine do they rely to prove me guilty of these misdemeanors. To what 
chapter of my political life do they point to sustain their allegations? Have they 
been able to produce one act of omission or commission, during the seven years I 
.have served them in Congress? Not one, that I am aware of. The sum of my of- 
fending, as you all know, consists in this: I preferred Gen. Taylor to Martin Van 
Buren. I exercised the right of every freeman, and gave my vote in accordance 
with the dictates of my own conscience. Though opposed to the nomination of 
Gen. Taylor, being satisfied, after the nomination, that either he or Gen. Cass would 
be the next President, I felt it my duty to support Gen. Taylor, because I believed 
him to be a better man, and more sound than Gen. Cass even on the Wilmot provi- 
so, which with me was a controlling consideration. Such was the conclusion to 
which my mind was brought, on a full examination of the subject, soon after the 
nomination was made at Philadelphia. 

I saw at once, before I had declared my resolution to any man, that an organiza- 
tion would be made in Massachusetts in opposition to Gen. Taylor. In fact I heard, 
a week before the Convention, that a preliminary meeting had been held in Boston, 
at which this course had been agreed upon, and that a committee had been appointed 
to prepare an address to the people. I saw, soon after the Convention, the notification 
of a meeting at Worcester, to ratify the nomination; and also a call for a popular con- 
vention, at the same place, to repudiate it. Several of my former friends in Massa- 



chuselts wrote me, asking me what course I Intended to pursue; some urging me to 
oppose General Taylor, and others advising me not to commit myself on either side: 
suo-gesting that both parties would take me up if I remained silent. In a few days 
I received a letter from the committee of arrangements for ''.he ratification meeting 
at Worces-ter, and also a letter from the committee of arrangements for the mass 
convention at the same place, each inviting me to attend their respective meetings, 
and each expecting from me some expression of opinion. I was aware that a storm 
was gathering in my own State and district, and by standing aloof I might, under 
the peculiar condition of the parties, obtain the support of both. But I could be 
guilty of no concealment; I could practise no duplicity. As then advised, I was 
satisfied that General Taylor was preferable to General Cass; and, occupying the 
position I did, I thought that the people had a right to know my views upon the 
subject, and that it would be unmanly and dishonorable in me to attempt to conceal 
them. I accordingly replied to both committees, stating to them frankly my honest 
convictions on the whole subject matter, and informing them that I preferred Gene- 
ral Taylor to General Cass, especially on the anti-slavery or Wilmot proviso ques- 
tion. I said, in one of these letters which was published at the time: 

"Being nnalterably opposed to the further extension of slave territory, anO an advocate for free soil 
and free Uihor, I feel it to be my duty to do all that can honorably be done to oppose the election of 
the democratic candidate, whose policy I believe would be exclusively southern. General Taylor has 
pledged liimself to sustain the popular will as expressed by the representatives of the people, and 
administer the Government on the principles of the fathers of the Republic. I believe he is less bel- 
ligerant than the democratic candidate ; that he would be more inclined to peace ; less disposed to an- 
nex foreign territory ; and, on the great subject of slavery itself, would take a ?uo?-e honorable course than 
his democrcilic competilor.''^ 

Such was the ground taken by me as early as the 22J of June. I took this posi- 
tion at that time after serious and mature reflection, and nothing has since occurred 
to shake my faith in the soundness of the position. I looked upon the question 
then, as I do now, as one of a practical character. The nomination of General 
Taylor had changed the aspect of the whole affair, and, as a practical man, I must 
change with it. I was compelled to meet the case as it was then presented, and I 
endeavored to do the best I could for the occasion. I acted frankl}' and without re- 
serve; and I have seen no occasion to reproach myself for the course I have pur- 
sued. If I erred at all, it was in confiding in certain men in my own district who 
have shown themselves unworthy of confidence; but it is better, perhaps, to be be- 
trayed occasionally, than to be so suspicious as never to trust. 

The manner in which I have discharged the duties of the station you have as- 
signed me, is so well known to the intelligent people of the district that I would not, 
under ordinary circumstances, allude to it ; but as I have been arraigned by some 
of my former friends on the charge of infidelity or treachery on the subject of slavery 
or free soil, I shall, I trust, be pardoned if I refer to my congressional course on 
this subject. I have always been opposed to the institution of slavery. I have 
regarded it as a political and moral wrong ; and, since I have been in Congress, 
the only field on which a northern man can meet it as a practical question, I have 
done what I could do, legally and constitutionally, to prevent its extension and to 
resist the encroachments of its power. I have not, like some individuals in and out 
of Congress, embraced every opportunity to drag this subject into every discussion, 
whether it properly belonged there or not. I have not introduced it for the mere 
purpose of producing agitation and exciting ill will; because I have been persuaded 
that such a policy would naturally tend to defeat the object in viev/, and so 
strengthen the institution in question. I have regarded it as an important subject, 
which should be approached with wisdom and prudence, and disposed of in a con- 
stitutional manner ; and where I could meet the subject fairly, and with any reason- 
able prospect of doing good, I have not failed to do it. And while I have avoided 
personal altercation, and refrained from denunciation and bitterness, I have met 
directly every question involving the institution, and have expressed my views 



without fear or reserve ; and hence I have, in some instances at least, had a fair 
and attentive hearing, when those who pursue a violent and irritating course would 
not be listened to at all by the very men Vve wish to influence. My course has left 
no doubt upon the minds of those with whom I have acted in regard to my views 
and policy. I have been regarded by all northern men as/i/vrt, and by ultra southern 
men as obslinute. 

In the first speech I made in Congress, December 27, 1841, though the question 
was that of the tarill", I introduced the subject of slavery. Mr. Rhett, of S. C, 
and other gentlemen from that section of the Union, had said that a protective tariff 
was a tax upon southern labor to increase northern capital. To this position I replied: 
'•1 wish to assail no section of the country; but I am compelled to say that the 
truth is the very reven e of this. It is southern capital against northern labor. 
From a full view of our manufactures, it will be seen that our fabrics are, in a great 
degree, the product of labor, and not of capital. But how is it with the products of 
the South ? Take their great staple, cotton ; of what is that the product ? Of labor 
or of capital ^ Of capital almost exclusively. Their lands are capital, and their 
slaves are capital, made so by their laws. In strictness of speech, they have no 
labor, in the sense in which that word is used as distinguished from capital, in the 
production of their cotton crop, if we except the overseers and the few white men 
who are employed. By the institutions and laws of the South, their slaves are 
property — capital, in the same sense that our machinery is ; and when they talk of 
protecting their labor, they mean, if they mean anything, protecting their property. 
With these facts staring them in the face, will .-outhern gentlemen on this floor 
have the effrontery to tell us that the doctrine of protection is a contest between 
northern capital and southern labor .'' It is a contest betv»een southern capital, or 
what is made so by their laws, and the free labor of the North." 

When the madness of Mr. Tyler's administration manifested itself in the attempt 
to annex Texas to the Union, I took early and decided ground against it: first, in 
an elaborate letter addressed to the Whig Committee of the county of Worcester, 
published in the Spy and in the ^^gis, of August 15, 1S44 ; and afterwards, in a 
speech on the floor of the House, I predicted that the annexation of Texas would so 
strengthen the South as to enable them to break down the protective policy which 
sustained the free labor of the North, which was consummated by the votes of Texan 
Senators. I also predicted that it would involve us in an unjust war with Mexico, 
which has likewise been verified. On both of these occasions, I denounced the 
measure as one designed to extend and foster the slave institution. In the speech 
in the House, January "20, 1845, I used this language: 

'• But we are told b)' Mr. Secretary Calhoun that the Constitution guarantees to the southern States 
the protection of slavery. — If we are bound to take in new .slave territory to secure slavery, have we 
not a right to turn out some of the present slave Stales to secure freedom ? If the guarantees of the 
Constitution require us to prevent abolition in a foreign nation for the benefit of the Soutii, they re- 
quire us to abolish slavery at home for the benefit of the North. 

" Cut, sir, 1 have no belief at all in guarantees of this kind. Congrjss has no power to interfere 
with slavery in the slave States. No northern man contends for it — they all disclaim it. But the 
same latitude of construction adopted by Mr. Calhoun would give them full power in the premises. 
1 Sijy northern men on this floor do not wish to interfere with slavery in the South. We know that 
it is beydnd our control in the States. If it be an evil and a citrse, as most southern men will admit, 
the responsibility is with those who alone have the power to abolish it. And, on the other hand, if 
it be the grealcH of blissinos, v.e are willing that they shall enjoy all its fruits — we ask no portion for 
ourselves ; we will not disturb them in the enjoyment of such a good. Not that we feel indifferent to 
the subject Our sympathy is with the oppressed. We wish to see them raised to the condition of 
Jreemen. But as the Constitution puts the subject beyond our control, we shall not attempt to violate 
its provisions. But southern gentlemen must not e.xpect that we will lend our influence to extend an 
institution which we believe to be at war with the fundamental principles of law and morals, and to 
reflect dishonor upon the American character. 1 can never, wilU my vote, or xcith my voice, susiain sxuk 
-an institulion. 

" I say I cannot do it, and hence I cannot vote for the annexation of Texas. For it cannot be dis- 
guised, that Texas is sought solely for the purpose of extending slavery and strengthening the slave 
power. It is not, as has-been said, ' to enlarge the area of freedom,' but to extend the bounds of 
slavery and strdngthen slave power in the councils of the nation. It is a device, got up by Messrs. 



6 

Upshur and Coihoun, to place slavery on a more permanent foundation, and to give the South a bal- 
ance of power ; and we are called upon to annex Texas to the United Slates, as I before said, to 
destroy the balance of liiis Union, and to establish, strengthen, and perpetuate upon the land what 
we have already pronounced piracy upon the ocean." 

When the President of the United States, to gratify an inordinpte ambition, and 
acquire further territor}^ for the purpose of adding to the number of slave Stales, had 
involved the nation in a war, 1 was among the very first to reprobate the measure, 
and expose the conduct of the Executive. I was one of the fourteen who voted 
against the war bill, and I embraced the earliest opportunity to give my views of the 
war and its object. 

On the 14th of May, 1846, the day after the war bill became a law, I expressed 
myself in a speech, as follows : 

" I have no boasts to make of my devotion to my country. I am a citizen of this country, and my 
fortune is connected with hers. When she is right, 1 will sustain her ; and if 1 believe her to be in the 
wrong, 1 will not give her up, but will point out her errors, and do all in mj' power to bring her into 
the right; so that, if war must come, and our young men must be offered on the alti^r of our country, 
we may safely commend them to the God of battles — to that Being who rules in the armies of heaven 
and among the inhabitants of the earth. 1 desire the prosperity of my country, and nothing but my 
devotion to her interest, and to the higher principles of moral rectitude, induced me to separate from 
those with whom I have generally acted. 1 could not consent to involve my country in a war which 
I believe to be unnecessary and unjust — a war of conquest — brought about by ambitious men to an- 
swer peri;©nal and party purposes. 

" Before I conclude my remarks, I must notice another subject closely connected with this, and 
one out of which our present difficulties have grown. Gentlemen with v^hom I have acted on this 
floor will bear me vv-itness, that 1 have not been in the habit of going out of my way to attack the in- 
stitutions of the South. Though I have always regarded slavery as an evil — a political and moral 
wrong — having no power over it in the States, I have been disposed to leave it with those who have 
it in their keeping, to manage according to their own sense of propriety. I will not give il my coun- 
tenance — ll shall nnt be extended by me. This war is one of the first fruits of the annexation of Texas. 
And that measure was got up and consummated to extend and perpetuate slavery. Mr. Calhoun, in 
the correspondence submitted with the treaty, avowed this to be the primary object of annexation. I 
opposed it then, aiid I voted against the war because its object is to extend, not the " area of freedom," 
but the arga of bondage. And I wish to commend this subject specially to the gentleman from Illi- 
nois, whose bosom glows w,ith such ardent patriotism, that he is wilbng to spill i;ivers of blood in this 
war with Mexico. He is so devoted to his country, and so in love with her institutions, that he is 
willing to sustiiin, with blood and treasure, an institution at war with the first principles of a republi- 
can government — liberty and equality. He denounces Mexico as an uncivilized and barbarous power, 
and still he aspires to be a leader in a policy designed to extend and perpetuate slavery, and to plant 
on the soil of Mexico an institution which she, barbarous as she is, and corrupt as the gentleman 
would represent her to be. would not permit to pollute her sril. This is the position of tlie gentleman- 
who denounces all as traitors who will not bow to the dictation of the majoritj?^ on this floor." 

In debate on the President's message, December IG, 184G, alluding to the motives 
which bd to the v/ar, I used the following language : 

" The President wished to distinguish his administration, and he wished to distinguish it by a fur- 
ther accession of terutory ; he wished to acquire a large portion of territory in that section of the 
Union, in ordei- to give the South a perpetual preponderance in the countils of the nation. There is a 
deep feeling in the country against the extension of slavery. There are thousands upon thousands in 
the northern section of this Union (and I allude to no fanatics, but to sober, deliberate, and substantial 
men — men who have the good of t!ie country at heart) who would resist, by every means in their 
power, the establishment of slavery in these Mexican provinces, if they should be annexed to these 
United States. This feeling is both strong and deep, and the prosecution of this war of conquest is 
contributing daily to the increase of that feeling. Let this war go on ; let victory crown our arms till 
Mexico shall yield up a large ]iortion of her territory ; and we should have questions of internal regu- 
lations, v/hich would be more difficult to settle than the boundary between us and Mexico." 

Again, February 13, 1847, on the Three Million Appropriation bill, I took part in 
the debate, in which was involved the acquisition of territory, and the disposition to 
be made of it, and employed this language : 

"We see in the case before us a fruitful source of discord. The war was commenced for the con- 
quest of territory to convert into slave States. The most that the Administration desire, in the first 
instance, is to acquire the territory. The South declare upon this floor that if territory is acquired, it 
must be slave territory ; that they will not submit to be surrounded by a cordon of free States. On 
iiie other hand, the North have resolved, and fi.-mly resolved, that not another foot of slave territory 



shall be added to the Union. Here, then, an issue is directly made, and 1 have no doubt but that the 
North will be found true to her principles, when the day of trial comes. 

"I teil you, Mr. Chairman, that the North will stand firm. You cannot judge of the present by the 
past. Within two years there has been a radical change in public sentimeiit in the free States. The 
Texas outrage, followed by this iniquitous war, both for tlie extension of slavery, has brought the 
people to their senses. They have seen this Administration breaking through the barriers of ihc Con- 
stitution to sustain and extend slavery, and the people in the free States have resolved that the evil 
shall extend no farther. I say to the South, in all frankness, you will find northern sentiment immo- 
vable on this subject, "as firm as nature, and as fixed as fate.'' 

When the subject of territorial governments was under debate, June 20, 1848, I 
uttered my sentiments on slavery thus : 

"That slavery is a great political evil, no reflecting man can deny. In a pecuniary point of view, 
it is a burden to any community where it exi.sts. The idleness which it induces, the degradation of 
labor which naturally arises from it, mark it every where as a withering cur.se to the coinmuaity, too 
plain and palpable to be denied. 

"But the institution of slavery is a political evil in another respect ; it weakens a State not only in 
its pecuniary but in its physical resources. It is an element of danger ; it contains the secda of in- 
surrection. But slavery is a great moral as well as political evil. So long as ojipressiui is a moral 
wrong, slavery will stand forth as one of the crying sins of the land. To convert men into chattels, 
and expose them at public sale, tearing husbands from wives, and children from parents; to degrade 
human beings, created in the image of God, and render tliem mere beasts of burden ; to deprive them 
of all means of cultivating their moral nature, and of reading the word of eternal life — if this be not 
a moral wrong, I know of nothing which is worthy of that appellation. I am willing to admit all the 
palliation which can be urged in favor of the institution. But nothing, in my estimation, can justify 
it. It begins in a wrong, in a violation of the first principles of natural right — that of enjoying per- 
sonal liberty, and the fruit of one's own labor. And this first violation of moral right mu.^t of neces- 
sity lead on to others. 

"Believing slavery to be a moral and a political evil, I feel it my duty to use my influence lo exclude 
it from the Territories. I should be Ailse to myself, to my constituents, to my country, and even to 
the Territories themselves, did I not do all in my power to save them from this calamity. 

"I am aware that northern men who speak their sentiments freely upon this subject are denounced 
as fanatics and hypocrites, bul these denunciations have no terror for me. If to sympathize wiih the op- 
pressed and down-trodden be fanaticism, I am willing to be called a. fanatic. If a desiie to limit a cor- 
rupt and corrupting in.stitution be hypocrisy, I glory in being called a hypocrite. If a wi.sh to save the 
nation from disgrace, and free soil from a withering blight, be treason to tiie Union, set me down as a 
traitor. 

"Entertaining these views, I can never by my vote doom human beings to servitude who have been 
guilty of no crime. I should be false to myself — to every principle of humanity — to ev^ry sentiment 
of honor, were I to do it. Slavery in the States is beyond the reach of this Government. Over it, 
as a State institution, I have no control. But when it is propcssd to extend the institution into free 
territory, it becomes a matter of national concernment, and God forbid that I should record my vote 
to extend and enlarge its present area, or pollute with this institution one foot of frcctiom's sacred 
soil.'" 

The President in one of his mes.sages had volunteered the opinion tliat Texas had a 
just claim to all that part of New Mexico lying east of the Rio Grande. This claim 
allowed, would extend slavery over the whole of this vast tract of country. I took 
an early opportunity to expose the fallacy of his reasoning, and also that of the 
Texas members in relation to that claim. That speech, which was in fact the only 
one made upon the subject, was printed in the Appendix to the Congres.-^ional Globe, 
1st session, 30th Congress, and concludes as follows: 

"Having, I believe, noticed all the principal arguments v/hich have been advanced in support of 
the claiuis of Texas, I will state in conclusion what I believe to be the grand motives of those who 
urge these claims. Texas of course has a pecuniary interest in the extension of her boundary, be- 
cause by the terms of annexation she is allowed to retain all the unappropriated lands within her terri- 
tory. Another object which Texas and the South have in view, is the exten.sion of slavery. They 
knew that if New Mexico, or the Sante Fe country, be given up to Texas, she has power to continue 
slavery there; but if it should be held as a territory of t!ie United States, it would Le competent for 
Congress lo apjily the ordinance of 1787 to it, and thereby continue it free territory. We are free to 
admit that Mr. Polk is consistent with himself. As he commenced the war for the acquisition of slave 
territory, it is natural to suppose that he wou'd do all in his power to secure the end for which lie has 
been toiling. But it becomes the friends of freedom to be upon their guard, and to take all juft mea- 
sures to defeat the infamous object.'s of a corrupt udministiation." 

These extracts will show the course I have pursued in relation to the great ques- 
tions of annexation, slavery, and the Mexican war. Whether my course lias been 



8 

vise or unwise, I leave others to determine. But I claim, and have a right to claim, 
miformit}'^ and consistency of action. I have followed the dictates of my own con- 
cience, regardless of the opinions of others, and have done what I believed to be for 
he best interest of my country. I have opposed, and shall continue to oppose, the 
ixtension of slavery ; and neither the denunciations of fanatics of the South, nor 
he slanders of my former friends of the fifth district, will ever induce me to deviate 
rom that my settled purpose. But in the face of all these facts, I have been accus- 
:d of being treacherous to the cause of freedom — of betraying the interests of the 
^orth — of deserting my former friends in the day of trial — and of lending my influ- 
nce to the cause of slave extension. Now, fellow citizens, I pronounce these 
harges base calumnies ; and I challenge the production of one particle of proof to 
ustain them. My accusers have produced none, and they can produce none. On 
he contrary, so far as I know or have heard, they have admitted that I have uni- 
3rmly spoken and acted in accordance with my own professions, and their own 
Irishes. Of what then do they complain ? The only thing they specify is voting 
Dr General Taylor. Yes, these boasted friends of freedom with "free soil" and "free 
uffrage" inscribed upon their banner, are ready to denounce as a traitor every one 
irho cannot see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and vote for the candidate 
i^hom the Democratic Barnburners of New York forced upon them. 

In relation to General Taylor, my course has always been an open one. I was 
pposed to his nomination. I was opposed to it, because he was a southern man. 

thought it was due to the North that the candidate should be taken from that sec- 
ion of the countr}^. I was opposed to it, because I preferred a civilian to a military 
aan. I inade no secret of my opposition ; and I was so well satisfied that General 
''avlor would not obtain the nomination, that, I confess, up to the time of the 
Convention, I had not made any very thorough examination into his character or 
Lialifications. But when the nomination was made, I felt it my duty to investigate 
ds character and qualifications more fully than I had done before. I examined his 
gtters, reviewed his correspondence, and having an opportunity to converse with 
everal distinguished Whigs who were personally acquainted with General Taylor, I 
mbraced these opportunities and obtained all the information in my power concern- 
Qcr him. And I am free to admit, that the closer I studied his character, the more 

became satisfied with the nomination. I found that he was a man of vigorous intel- 
sct, of sound judgment, of elevated patriotism, of incorruptible integrity ; that he 
vas simple and unaffected in his manners, exemplary in private life, industrious in 
lis habits, and systematic in the transaction of business, possessing great clearness 
if perception and firmness of purpose; that with a high moral sense, he united stern 
ustice with the most condescending mercy; and that by the goodness of his heart 
.nd the force of his character, he was calculated to win the affections and command 
he confidence of those around him. I was satisfied that he was a Whig of the old 
chool, utterly opposed to Executive usurpation, and if elected, the highest object 
)f his ambition would be to administer the Government on the principles of the Con- 
ititution, and to walk in the footsteps of the Fathers of the Republic. I was also 
mpressed with the idea, that the Whigs who went into the Convention and took 
>art in its deliberations, and pressed the claims of their respective candidates, were 
)ound in honor to abide by the nomination ; and especially, as I was assured by many 
■espectable members of that body, that the nomination was fairly made. 

Being aware that either General Taylor or General Cass must be the next Presi- 
lent, I carefully compared their views and sentiments, their pledges and the lines of 
policy thev were bound to pursue. I was satisfied that General Cass was in favor 
)f farther acquisition of territory, while General Taylor was pledged against that 
•uinous policy ; that General Cass had pledged himself to veto any bill which should 
contain the Wilmot proviso, while General Taylor stood committed to carry out the 
bvill of Congress, should they pass such a bill. Such were the conclusions to which 
I came, after a careful examination and much serious reflection. 
After the nomination of Mr. Van Buren, I was confident that he could not obtain- 



a single electoralvote, and that supporting him was increasing the chances for the 
election of Gen. Cass. Under these circumstances, I felt it to be my duty to give 
my suppoi-t to the nominee of the Whig Convention. I should have been false to 
myself, false to my Wh'g principles, false to the true cause of anti-slavery, if I had 
given my vote for Gen. Cass or for Mr. Van Buren, thereby increasing the chances 
for the election of Gen. Cass. I regretted that our candidate was not a northern 
man. I reo-retted, as I did four years before, that our candidate was a slaveholder. 
But I voted for Judge Thomas as a Taylor elector in 1848, on the same principle 
that I and mv Whig friends in the district voted for Judge Allen as a Clay elector 
in 1844. 

As I do not claim infallibility, I may have erred in judgment. But I had no doubt 
that Gen. Taylor would sign a bill containing the Wilmot proviso, and that General 
Cass would veto such a bill; and, entertaining these views, I never gave a more 
sincere anti-slavery vote in my life than the one I gave for Gen. Taylor. If it be 
deserting Whig principles to withhold a vote from Martin Van Buren, I am guilty 
of desertion. If it be bowing to the slave power to support the only candidate Avho 
would permit Congress to exclude that institution from the Territories, then am I 
obnoxious to the charge. If doing wbat I believed would best promote the interest 
of my country by circumscribing slaver}^ v>ithin its present limits be treason, I glory 
in being considered a traitor. I had done what every honest man should do — fol- 
low the dictates of his own judgment. I have done what every patriot is bound to 
do — seek the best interest of his country. I had no personal objects to secure; on 
the contrary, I was apprised early, long before I had taken any active part in the 
canvass, that unless I came into the support of the new movement, a' Free Soil can- 
didate would be run against me. But, preferring the approval of my own conscience 
to any preferment or political support, I took what, with my views, was the only 
honorable course, and supported the candidate who would best carry out my prin- 
ciples. 

But for this honest, independent, and, I believe, consistent course, I have been 
abused and vilified by some of my former friends. I do not complain that they have 
voted for Judge Allen. They are freemen like myself, and have the same right to 
cast their suffrages for the man of their choice that I have. But I have reason to com- 
plain of the means which have been employed to injure me. The oldest Whig press 
in the county, which I have patronized, and to whose columns I have contributed 
for a long series of years, has rudely assailed me, calling my sincerity in question, 
and more than intimating that I have been bought up by the promise of office. 
Now, I pronounce all such charges utterly false. No Whig, or body of Whigs, 
ever, even by the most distant insinuation, intimated to me that adhering to Gen. 
Taylor would secure to me any office, or even the nomination to any office. But, 
on the other hand, if I felt at liberty to betray private confidence, or \o publish pri- 
vate letters, I could show that it was distinctly intimated to me by certain Free Soil 
gentlemen, that uniting with their party would secure to me a re-election to Con- 
gress, or a nomination to the highest office in the State. 

But these personal attacks have been characterized by a perfidy rarely to be met 
with. Early in the canvass the editor or publishers of the Spy exposed to the gaze 
of their friends, an article written by me about two years ago, and published at the 
time as an editorial in that paper. But this was not all; they must go further. Ac- 
cordingly, this article, in connection with my name, was stricken off in a handbill, 
and a brother of the editor started on a mission to attend Whig meetings, to interrupt 
Whig speakers, and to distribute this handbill. But even the editor of the Spy could 
not, thus early, make up his mind to endorse this species of professional treachery; 
for the handbill was perfectly anonymous — not even bearing the name of the office 
whence it issued. But the master spirit of this movement, Hon. Charlks Allen, 
more bold than his agent of the Spy, came out in a public meeting at Worcester on 
Saturday evening, October 28, read the handbill, and ascribed it to me by name, and 
stated that it was published in the Spy at the time of its date. On Monday moru- 



ing, October 30, the pliant agent of Mr. Allen appeared in his paper, and charged 
me with writing the article which he published in 1847 as his own, placing it 
under the editorial head; and to account for his publishing it as an editorial, and to 
justify the breach of confidence in now revealing the name of the writer, the editor 
makes the following statement: 

" Soon after the adjournment of Congress, in the spring of 1847, a gentleman, high in the councils 
of the nation, sought and had an interview with us in relation to the situation, aspect, and future 
course of political affairs. He began the conversation by some kind inquiries in relation to the Spy. 
He then proceeded with some complimentary remarks upon the ability, consistency, and political 
tact with which it had been conducted ; remarks which we have no disposition to repeat, and which,, 
fortunately, are not necessary to the object in view. He proceeded to say that the position of the 
Spy was important, and its influence on the public mind a salntaay one. It was fortunate for the 
W hig party that it had such a paper here, and one that did exercise such an influence. He then 
took a viev/ of the existing state of public affairs, especially in reference to the approaching Presiden- 
tial election, and said that the time had come when it became the North to take higher and more de- 
cided ground than she had done, and cause her feelings, her interests, and her rights to be respected. 
We had submitted long enough to the dictation of tiie South. We should now not only demand, 
but insist on, the right of having the next President taken from the free States. 

" He said, in addition, tliat, at the close of the session of Congress, a conference had been held be- 
tween several northern Whigs, who have agreed very liarmoniously as to the line of policy it was 
proper to pursue. He said that Hon. Charles Hudson had agreed to prepare several articles on 
leadino- political questions for publication in several Whig papers, calculated to have a favorable influ- 
ence on the public muid, and that it was desirable that some of them should appear in the Spy. He 
urged the importance of giving the articles a leading position as editorials, as they would have more 
influence as such than they would as anonymous communications. To this we replied, that though, 
we were not in the habit of adopting the writing of others, yet, as we believed the opinions of Charles 
Hudson coincided with our own, we had no special objection to doing it in the present instance ; and 
we parted with the understanding that it was to be done, if, on the receipt of the articles, they met 
our approbation. 

" Not long after we received the first number of the series, and it was followed by others in suc- 
cession in season for our weekly is.sues. They were published according to understanding as edito- 
rials." 

Such is the apology of the editor of the Spy for degrading his professional character 
by violating private confidence. And what excuse does this furnish him, even, 
admitting it to be true r None whatever. But, as far afe I am connected with this 
conversation, it is utterly untrue. I never agreed to write any articles for the Spy,, 
or for any other paper, as above related. I never authorized any person to apply to. 
the editor to publish any articles editorially, nor did I write the article in question, 
at the request or suggestion, or even with the knowledge, of any man living. The 
article was my own in every possible sense, and for it I alone am re. ■sponsible. I 
cannot say what conversation the editor of the Spy may have had with .some "gen- 
tleman high in the councils of the nation," but, from the best information of which 
such a vague statement admits, I am constrained to believe that this story, in all its 
essential features, is a fabrication, gotten up for the purpose of exciting prejudice 
against me, of com.menuing '• The Spy," and of hiding the treachery of which the 
editor virtually admits himself to be guilty. 

But Judge Allen, not content to avail himself of the professional treachery of the 
Spy, in his speech of October 30th, reads and then publishes to the world d. pri- 
vate letter which I wrote him before the Philadelj^hia Convention. I Avill not remark 
upon this violation of private confidence, because every one, not entirely Avrapt up 
in selfishness and devoid of honorable feeling, knows that there is a sacredness in 
private intercourse which no gentleman will violate. But, after all, what important 
fact has Judge Allen, or his satellite of the Spy, brought to light by these violations of 
private friendship ^ They have disclo.sed just what I have always openly declared: 
that I was opposed to the nomination of Gen. Taylor ; that I was in favor of exclud- 
ing slaver)^ Irom the Territoiies ; that I preferred a northern candidate for the Presi- 
deiicy; and thought Judge McLean might be the most available man. 

Whilst this conspiracy against me was developing itself, and the Spy was daily 
pouring forth its vituperation, I published wo private letters^ I wrote no articles justi- 
fying myself, or exposing the conduct of my opponents. I felt that there was a 



11 

delicacy in appearing from the press in defence of myself. Nor had I any desire of 
converting the canvass into a personal altercation; and therefore I refrained from any 
publication. But, in the mean time, my opponents were active. In the language of 
the bard — 

" This prints my letters, that expects a bribe, 
And others roar aloud, subscribe, subscribe." 

But not beingdisposed to imitate certain examples and subscribe largely for copies- 
of this Van Buren paper, or enter into a personal contest, I remained silent. 

" Though want provok'd and madness made them print, 
I wag'd no war with bedlam or the mint." 

I had no subsidized press at my command; no treacherous editor to do my 
bidding; no brother pampered by the commonwealth, and fitted by long expe- 
rience for rancorous debate, to let loose like a tiger upon my rival; no disap- 
pointed, restless Democrats to aid my cause, or transfer their friends — if transfer it 
can be called — i;o me and Martin Van Buren. Nor did the part3^ with which I 
acted, while they Avere proclaiming "free soil" and "free suffrage," attempt to 
make slaves of the people, by adopting every means within their power to induce 
them, in advance, to .'^ign written pledges that they would vote with a certain party 
when the election should arrive. 

Now, gentlemen, keeping in mind that the only fact brought against me to sus- 
tain all the crimes charged, is that I refused to vote for Martin Van Buren, and 
voted for Gen. Taylor, I wish to inquire who are those that have pursued me with so 
much virulence, and who seem disposed to magnify my faults almost to capital 
offences? They are gentlemen who, in 1840, voted and spoke and wrote against 
Mr. Van Buren, declaring him to be a corrupt, intriguing politician, bov.ing down 
to the South, and betraying every northern interest; gentlemen who, in 1844, voted 
for Mr. Clay, a southern man and a slaveholder; one of whom declared at Philadel- 
phia that he preferred Gen. Taylor to Mr. Clay; gentlemen who commenced their 
late political career by declaring that they were Whigs, and could not vote for Gen. 
Taylor because he was not <i W/iig, and then went over in a few days to Martin Vaa 
Burcn, the prince of the most radical Democracy. These are the gentlemen who set 
themselves up as patterns of political consistency and purity. 

I have no disposition to attack others, or to say an unkind word against those 
with v/hom I have formerly acted; but my dut}'' to myself rec.uires that I should 
vindicate my character, and in doing so I am compelled to show the basenci^s of the- 
attack. As the Spy has been made the organ of the party, I wish to show the 
course pursued by that press. In 1840 the Spy, edited then by the saino individual' 
who edits it now, was unsparing in its denunciations of Mr. Van Buren, and ia 
1844 it advocated strenuously the cause of Mr. Clay, and reprobated, in the strong- 
est manner, the condr.ct of the Liberty party in presenting a third candidate, which 
would tend directly to defeat Mr. Clay, and bring Texas into the Union. And after 
the nomination of General Taylor, the Spy came out with an editorial, calling upon 
the Whigs to be united. In that paper of June 14, 1848, before the Spy had re- 
ceived its new light, we find the following manly sentim3nts: 

" Many who are disappointed with the nom.iiiation will, nevertheless, sustain it, for the purpose of 
defeatini,'' Gen. Cass, wlio Is justly cmsidered the mrst obnoxious of aji;/ man who has been proposed for the 
nomination. But many others, we are bound to btlieve by their own declarations, will never support 
it under any consideration. Greatly as we are disapiiointed and mortified by the nomination, we 

SHALL NOT BE CRlViiN TIIEUCB? FROM OUR SUVPOUT OF Wnir, PRINCIPLES, WlMG MEASURES, AND WlHG 

MEN. The prirci]jkr, and objects of the party are too vital in their character to he thus easily abandoned;- 
and there are other things than the election of President to be attended lo in the rpproaching election, more 
important even than the choice of a Chief Mcgistrale. Wc tiusf, therefore, that those who are dissatis- 
fied with the nomination, and who undoubtedly constitute a majority of the Whigs in the free State.?, 
will not hastily or unadvisedly sever the present organization of the party. They have the power in 
their hands, if they choose to exercise it, under their present organization, to decide the character of 
the next Congress; and the character of the Congresa will decide that of the Admin isUation. With a 



12 

true Congress, no new territory can be admitted to the Union where slavery is tolerated, nor can there 
be any legislation for the purpose of Uj)hijlJin2' slavery. Let us, thkm, act together, as <Vhigs, 
AND IN- SUPPORT OF WiiiG PRiNciPLKS, AS WK HAVic iiiTivBKTO DONE. Let US require, as a condition of 
our support, that no candidate shall be nominated for Congress who is not pledgeil a>^ain.iit the exten- 
sion of slavery, and against any leo;islation, the object of which is to upliold slavery v.'here it now ex- 
ists If the people of tiie free States who are opposeil to slavery will take this ground, they will 
assuredly conirol the next Congress. But iflhty separate from the existing parties, and split up into fac- 
tions, tlieir influence tcill be lost, and a pro-slavery Congress will be elected, ^ts regnrdi the nomination for 
President, each man may decide for himself ivluther he can give his vote to the nominee, for the purpose of de- 
feating a more obnoxious candidate, or whether principle requires that he should xoithhold it altogether. 

"Looknig at the signs cf the times, we believe that Gen. Taylor wiii be elected. If elected, it will be 
as the Whig nrmhiee, and, with such union as may be maintained without any sanijice of principle, the 
election of President will carry with it, as it alwavs does, the election of memljers of Congress. The 
oppotients of slave extension and slave legislation have it in their power to give potency to their prin- 
ciples in that election, if ihey are wise and prudent. Will they not do it.'" 

Here the editor of the Spy declares that he ''shall not be driven from the support 
of Whig principles, Whig measures, and Whig men;" that, if Gen. Taylor is elect- 
ed, "it will be as a Whig nominee, and with such union as may be maintained with- 
out any sacrifice of principle,'''' the election will carry with it a Whig Congress, 
and so secure the rights of the North ; and hence, he calls upon his friends to "act 
together as Whigs in support of Whig principles, as we have heretofore done." And 
yet, in about one week, this same gentleman, after falsifj/ing his own declarations, 
eating his own words, and abandoning every principle he had laid down for himself, 
denounces as a traitor every one who pursued the course which he marked out, and 
declared that they could pursue "without any sacrifice of principle." 

But why did the editor of the Spy, after making these truly Whig and statesman- 
like declarations, repudiate them ail in the short space of ten days.? I will state what 
followed, and you may judge for yourselves. On the 21st of June, just seven days 
after the editor defined his position, the Hon. Charles Allen, in a public speech de- 
livered to a large assembly in Worcester, made this significant declaration: 

" I hope our friend of the Spy will see that there is something more than a shower coming; and I 
hope he will see that his interest is in boldly speaking out his prniciples, and let him be the organ here 
<jf wiiat is emphatically the people's [lariy — sprung from the people, sustained by the people — and he 
liimself will be sustained also. But, gentlemen, organs ice must have in the cities and in the country, and 

WE CANNOT v.-AlT MANY DAYS FOR THEM." 

After this emphatic declaration, "our friend of the Spy," without "waiting many 
days," became the "organ," the pliant instrument of the gentleman who assumed 
at Philadelphia the prerogative of dissolving the Whig party. I will make no com- 
ments upon this sudden conversion, but leave each one to draw his own conclusions. 

And how is it with the Representative elect from the 5th district, W'ho in person 
and by proxy has been so free in iiTipeaching the motives of others } Does he stand 
above suspicion in relation to this whole matter? In his speech at Worcester on the 
21st of June, Mr. Allen said: "We say, gentlemen, that Gen. Taylor is not a Whig, 
and we say that the convention has been false to iti duty and treacherous to the coun- 
try; first, in selecting for its candidate a man who was not a Whig.'''' Here we have 
the charge of //-eacAez-j/ brought against the National Whig Convention, because they 
selected a man who had declared that he "was a Whig, but not an ultra Whig;" 
and yet the author of this charge, after opposing Mr. Van Buren for years, finds it 
perfectl}^ consistent to support for the highest office in the nation that artful, design- 
ing, Democratic politician. 

Again, he says in his Worcester speech in June: 

" Gen. Taylor was nominated on the fourth ballot ; but, before the first ballot was taken, I was con- 
fident that he would be the candidate. At an early period 1 did not doubt but that he would be the 
candidate. And, if it had been necessary to give him the 170 votes on the first instead of the fourth 
ballot, he would have had them. The free States could not unite, because there was treachery in their 
tlelegations.'^ 

Now, if Mr. Allen had been sensible, before the balloting commenced, that there 
wai treachery in the delegations, and that Gen. Taylor, a man whom he could not 



13 

support, ■would be selected in consequence of this treachery, he ought, as a high- 
minded and honorable man, to have left the convention at once. But, instead of 
that, he went into the convention, and voted for his own candidate; and, if Mr. 
Webster had obtained the nomination, he would, I think, have been among the first 
to denounce any man or set of men, who should have refused to abide by the nomi- 
nation. 

Judge Allen informs us that certain delegates, who voted for other candidates in 
the first instance, had made up their minds beforehand to vote ultimately for Gen. 
Taylor; and this he denounces as treachery. But how was it with himself? Did 
he not go into the convention, take part in its deliberations, and do what he could to 
commit that body to his own favorite candidate, after he had resolved — nay, entered 
into combination — to resist the nomination in case it should fall upon Gen. Taylor } 
I feel authorized to say, that a meeting was held in Massachusetts the latter part of 
May last, consistmg of the gentlemen with whom Judge Allen is known to have 
sympathized and acted for two or three years past; that it was agreed at that meet- 
ing to organize a part}' in the State and Nation in opposition to Gen. Taylor, in the 
event that he should be nominated; that a committee was appointed to prepare an 
address to the people, to report at an adjourned meeting to be held on the first day 
of June; that this address was to be signed and put in circulation immediately after 
hearing of the nomination of Gen. Taylor, calling a convention to repudiate the nom- 
ination; that Judge Allen acted with them in such a manner, and harmonized so 
perfectly with these conspirators, that one of the seceding delegates from Massachu- 
setts asserted, ten days before the convention assembled, that, in the event of Gen. 
Taylor's nomination, he should leave the convention immediately, and the other 
would go unth him. Judge Allen and Mr. Wilson did leave the convention agree- 
ably to this arrangement. Now, Judge Allen, knowing that private letters are more 
sacred in other men's hands than in his own, may deny this statement; but, if he 
and his brother delegate, who have denounced the nomination, will give full consent 
for the publication of their letters, the evidence will be forthcoming. 

Having presented to you this general outline of the facts in the case, I now ask 
you, gentlemen, to reflect upon the subject, and decide for yourselves, who has acted 
the honorable part, and to whom the charge of treachery justly applies. I do not 
appear before you in the character of a suppliant. I ask nothing at your hands but 
strict justice. If I have been neglectful of my duty, and have betrayed the trust 
you have reposed in me — if I have deserted the great interests of freedom and hu- 
manity, and have lent myself to the cause of oppression, I am justly obnoxious to 
your censure. On the other hand, if I have devoted my lime, and what little of talent 
I possess, faithfully to your interests, and have endeavored to promote the peace of 
the country by opposing a war I deemed to be unnecessary and unjust, and the 
honor of the nation by resisting the spread of an institution which I regard as the 
foulest blot upon the character of the Republic; if I have pursued these ends by 
the means which I deemed the wisest and the best, you will, I trutt, permit me to 
retire to private life without reproach. But whatever may be your verdict, I shall 
carry with me into retirement, and to my grave, the consciousness of having fol- 
lowed the dictates of my own conscience, and pursued a course which I believed 
to be most productive of the cause of human freedom, and of the prosperity and 
happiness of our beloved country. I shall also carry with m.e the liveliest emotions 
of gratitude towards the thousands of m}^ fellow-citizens who have approved of my 
well meant endeavors, and who have stood by me in evil report as well as good 
report. 

But, before I close this address, I must be permitted to say a word to my Free Soil 
friends. I have felt it to be my duty to myself and to my W^hig friends who have 
acted with me, to the cause of truth and justice, to speak freely concerning the con- 
duct of certain men in the district; but I am far, very far, from imputing anything 
dishonorable to the great body of the Free Soil party. On the contrary, I believe, 
and I rejoice in the belief, that you are sincere, and have acted from a sense of 



14 

duty. You have felt as I have felt, that slavery is a grievous wrong, and ouorht not 
to be extended; you have felt as I have felt, that the North were justly entitled to 
the Presidency. We have differed only in relation to the best means of securin* 
those ends. You have been led to believe that the nomination and support of Mr. 
Van Buren were the most effectual means of limiting the institution of slavery; 
while I have believed that, under all the circumstances of the case, they tended di- 
rectly to extend it. You were led, by the representations of artful or misguided 
men, to believe that Mr. Van Buren would secure the votes of many of the States; 
while I was satisfied, from the first, that he could not obtain a single electoral vote. 
You have viewed the great movement in New York as a grand demonstration in 
favor of freedom; while I have looked upon it with distrust, and regarded it as an 
artful political manoeuvre on the part of the leading l^arnburners to gain ascendency 
in that State. But while we have differed in opinion, I have not, for a moment, be- 
lieved that you intended to do any thing dishonorable, or that you had any sympa- 
thy with the measures which certain of your leaders have adopted. I know hun- 
dreds of you too well, and have witnessed your highminded course too frequently, 
to believe that you could justify the conduct of some of your prominent men in 
treacherously publishing private correspondence to promote their own sinister ends. 
Ami I will say to you, in conclusion, that as I claim to have acted faithfully with 
reference to the great cause of human freedom, which is now agitating the country, 
so you will always find me devoted to that interest. But I cannot go Vvuth some who 
have acted with you in denouncing the Constitution of the country, and in declaring 
that the Union ought to be dissolved. If the Constitution is wrong, let it be amended. 
I will go for any improvement; but I have, I confess, no sympathy with that system 
of political quackery which would destroy the disease by killing the patient. 

Fellow-citizens of the 5th district, you have elected a representative of ac- 
knowledged ability, and one who will undoubtedly strive to promote your interests. 
But whether the means by which he has been elected, or the peculiar position he 
occupies, will render him more efficient for good than his colleagues, time alone 
must determine. But of this I am certain, that he wiH not, that he dare not, deviate 
materially from his colleagues, or from the course pursued by his humble predeces- 
sor, on rdl great questions in relation to human freedom. He may agitate, he may 
provoke, he may personally, or through the agency of others, disturb and distract 
the Whig party, but when he comes to act on questions connected with slavery, he 
will be compelled to follow the line which has already been marked out for him by 
those who have gone before him. 

And to my illustrious successor I will say, in the appropriate language of Banquo 
to Macbeth: 

''Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, 
As the weird women promis'd; and, I fear, 
Thou playd'st most foully for't." 

CHARLES HUDSON. 
Washington, February 20, 1849. 






->■ 
















A 




v^ 









V t 







-:^ '-^^^^Y^^ ^ "^ 







^" 



<^'ii^ 



^^-^4-. 
















v^ 






vV^^_ 






V^ 
^^^ 



^^, 



^..yy 






. O " -f ,. '*%^ 



0^- 







.0 .-. 



^'!'' 



.0'